Good day and thanks so much for joining me for Sundays With Celia Vol 15.

My Week In Review on Sunday

This week on the blog we made my delicious recipe for Roasted Cauliflower Soup. It’s a warm and comforting recipe to usher in Fall. Many of you wrote to tell me you tried it and loved it, which really makes me happy!


I also took you to the magnificent Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia. It was one of those special places I finally got to check off my bucket list.


How to “Earn” Big Bucks Shopping on Sunday

As I’ve told you on several occasions, due to my remote location on this mountaintop I do a lot of shopping online. I imagine you do too, despite where you might live. I try very hard to save money while shopping online, and have even found ways to earn money & points doing it. One way I do this is by using a credit card (in my case American Express) that gives me points every time I use it. This is how Brad and I fund a lot of our airline travel, by flying using AMEX points for award tickets. We are currently planning our next trip to Europe where we will be taking another Uniworld River Cruise, this time down the enchanting Danube River from Budapest, Hungary to Passau, Germany.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 15 | SS Maria Theresa | Uniworld River Cruises | Enchanting Danube |

We will be sailing on Uniworld’s 2nd newest ship, the SS Maria Theresa, deemed “Best New River Ship” by Cruise Critic editors in 2015

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 15 | SS Maria Theresa | Uniworld River Cruises |

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 15 | SS Maria Theresa | Uniworld River Cruises |

And this is the beautiful suite we have selected for the journey.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 15 | SS Maria Theresa | Uniworld River Cruises |

We have accumulated enough AMEX points to fly Business Class to Europe roundtrip, but, as you might imagine, it’s not always easy to find available award travel. To help me in my efforts I often turn to a couple of great travel websites for advice:

This time while perusing The Points Guy website he reminded me that I should never go directly to a retailer’s website if I’m shopping. That’s because most airlines have what are called “Milage Malls” that give you points for every dollar you spend. These milage malls allow you to browse through hundreds of stores or search through millions of products and then simply click on the one that interests you. The store’s website will then open in a new window. Just complete your purchase on the store’s website and you will automatically earn miles into your frequent flyer account. Plus, if you make your purchase using a credit card that awards you too, you’ve just achieved a double whammy! And, your next reward trip is closer than you think. The Points Guy has a great list with links to these malls which you can go to using this link.

Of course my favorite way to earn money when I book travel is by way of Ebates. This week I booked our Thanksgiving trip to Washington, DC. I did it using Ebates who partners with Virgin America Airlines, my favorite way to fly to DC. I will be getting 2% of that purchase back in the form of what Ebates calls “A Big Fat Check”.


I have the Ebates Cash Back Button on my computer which hangs out in my browser and does all of the work for me. The Button automatically alerts me when Cash Back is available, so I never miss my Cash Back. For example, we went to Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago. I told you about that trip in this blog post. I booked my suite at the Venetian Hotel using Priceline because Priceline gives Ebates shoppers 4% Cash Back, which earned me $23.32 cents in rebates. I could have booked the hotel on their own website for the same price but Ebates only gives you 2% back for shopping on The Venetian’s website. I charged the purchase to my AMEX card and got AMEX points too, the double whammy I’ve been telling you about.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 15 | Ebates | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comSUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 15 | Ebates |

If you still haven’t taken my advice and signed up for Ebates you can do so by clicking here. You’ll be glad you did!

On My Bookshelf This Sunday

I’ve mentioned several times before that one of my favorite celebrity chefs is Mario Batali. I really respect him as a chef that knows what he’s doing from real experience living, traveling and eating in Italy & Spain. In fact, we ate at his restaurant B & B while on our last trip to Vegas. I recently found out that one of my favorite Batali cookbooks, SPAIN A Culinary Road Trip

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 15 | SPAIN A Culinary Roadtrip |

about Mario’s culinary travels throughout Spain with Gwyneth Paltrow, was coauthored by chef Julia Turshen. I also found out that Julia just released a cookbook called Small Victories: Recipes, Advice + Hundreds of Ideas for Home-Cooking Triumphs.  Ina Garten (another one of my most respected chefs) wrote the foreword to the cookbook and praised Julia Turshen as having, “a special brand of magic in the kitchen.” So, being the cookbook hound that I am, I  immediately went on Amazon to order it. The cookbook arrived this week and I couldn’t wait to dive into it. It seems Julia’s goal in writing this beautiful cookbook is to demystify the process of truly great cooking.  I love to read cookbooks and this one reads like a great storybook, while at the same time providing endless inspiration for achieving “Small Cooking Victories”.

I have to say that at first glance I wondered why she chose to place a simple photo of Chicken Vegetable Soup on the cover. I thought surely she must have more creative recipes than this in her cookbook. But I found that as the book sat next to me on my desk all week that Chicken Vegetable Soup kept calling my name. Turns out it is a cherished family recipe from Julia’s dearly departed Aunt Renee.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 15 | Small Victories |

My favorite recipes are those with a story, which is how I like to share my own recipes. Well that did it, I had to make Aunt Renee’s Chicken Soup stat! So Friday morning I set about making the homemade chicken broth, which simmered on my stove for hours, sending off its lovely, enticing aroma. What I particularly liked about this soup is the fact that it is rustic, with hefty chunks of succulent chicken and vegetables. It was delicious and I really recommend this great cookbook. Get your copy here.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 15 | Aunt Renee's Chicken Soup |

Things On My Radar This Sunday

OK, so in this past post I got real with you guys and told you about the fact that my once very thick hair has been thinning a bit. I found a way to fight back using a shampoo that nourishes the scalp and it seems to be working very nicely. However, I also have a problem with my hair being frizzy, especially if I travel to an area that is humid like when I visit my kids in DC. I shudder to think what I’d do if I lived in the south (a place I love) during the summer!! Talk about BAD HAIR DAYS! Well, I have found what for me is the miracle elixir that is doing wonders for my frizzy hair! I know I’m sounding like a bad commercial when I tell you THIS PRODUCT REALLY WORKS! I don’t know how they do it but Lazer Straight Shampoo & Condition by UNITE does just that: it makes my hair smooth and straight but still allows it to hold a soft wave or curl. I LOVE IT! If you suffer from frizzy hair like I do I can’t encourage you enough to give it a try. It’s pricy but well worth it. You can get yours by clicking here.

Lazar Straight Shampoo & Conditioner by UNITE |

Sunday In A Paris Apartment

Round about this time last year my Frenchie friends, Pascual and Arnaud visited Brad and I here in Lake Arrowhead and I had a little fall dinner party for them. I served my yummy recipe for Spanish Style Chicken Fricassee. At the time Pascual & Arnaud’s penthouse apartment in Paris was under construction and they were traveling a bit to escape the dust. We heard all about the sleek, modern abode they were constructing, with walls of glass that would overlook the City of Lights.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 15 | My Friend's Paris Apartment |

Shortly after their visit with us we paid them a visit in Paris. It happened to be on a very special day when the new wines are presented and Pascual took us to a great wine bar for a tasting. One day soon I need to blog about our Paris adventures.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 15 | My Friend's Paris Apartment |

Well, this week I got exciting news that their apartment was finally finished and they have moved in. To top it off the apartment was featured on this architectural website. So here, have a little look, it’s really quite unbelievable! Talk about living in a glass house, yet it’s so high up it affords complete privacy. Congratulations Pascal & Arnaud! I can’t wait to see it in person.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 15 | My Friend's Paris Apartment |

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 15 | My Friend's Paris Apartment |

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 15 | My Friend's Paris Apartment |

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 15 | My Friend's Paris Apartment |

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 15 | My Friend's Paris Apartment |

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 15 | My Friend's Paris Apartment |

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 15 | My Friend's Paris Apartment |

So there you have it: SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 15

Thanks so much for dropping in! 

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All opinions expressed in this post are my own. All photos are the original property of Celia Becker @ and may not be reproduced without specific permission. This post contains affiliate links that help to make this blog possible.